Review: The Cha Gordo afternoon tea, St. Regis Hotel, Macao
Ever heard of Chá Gordo or ‘Fat Tea’? In reflecting on my knowledge of Macanese delicacies, I was of course familiar with the egg tart, the pork chop bun, and ‘Portuguese’ chicken. But I’d never come across this traditional family-style afternoon tea.
In the past, Chá Gordo was usually a luxurious, celebratory tea held by well-to-do Macanese families with large kitchens and numerous staff. While the feast could be held for any occasion, most were prepared in line with religious holidays like Christmas and Easter, or for special occasions like weddings, christenings, and birthdays. As times changed (i.e. families grew smaller and eating out became trendy), Chá Gordo’s popularity has faded, but there are some that want to keep this tradition alive for the new generation.
Enter The Manor at the St. Regis Macao.
Since 2018, the five-star hotel has partnered with Macanese food expert Chef Neta Fernandes Manhao to create a spread that will satisfy long-time partakers and newbies alike. There are over 30 delicacies including sweets like traditional potato cakes, cornstarch cookies, and maltose cracker sandwiches and savouries like minchi beef and pork pastries, crispy shrimp turnovers, and assorted dim sum.
Servers are happy to bring your choice of coffee or tea, or there is a drinks table with local favourites like milk tea, Xarope de Figo (with homemade fig syrup) and Xarope de Agriao (with homemade watercress syrup).
In addition to the buffet, guests can choose from one of two mains. The options rotate regularly but are always signature Macanese dishes. On the day I went, they were offering the Prawn Rice Vermicelli Soup and the Capela. I opted for the latter which is a Macanese meatloaf with olives, and topped with morcella (like bacon) and cheddar. It was hearty and heavy, fatty and salty, like a good comfort food meal should be.
Overall, I really enjoyed this experience! The food quality was very good and both the atmosphere and service were impeccable. I suppose you would expect nothing less from a hotel like the St. Regis but given all of this, the price was a steal at MOP 148 (roughly the same in HKD). While many places in Macau can get crowded, the afternoon tea was a lovely oasis where no one was rushed and everyone was able to eat to their heart’s content. Try it out for yourself with a partner, group of friends, or large family; the Manor can host all group sizes. It’s available every Saturday from 3 to 5:30pm.
The Manor, 1st floor, St Regis hotel, Cotai strip, Taipa, Macau, +853 2882 8898
*By invitation for Foodie